I think after several years of learning the art of writing, I'm finally mastering the art of editing. I might still have a long way to go on the actual writing process, and if anyone says they've got it down pat then I'll be impressed. Actually, thinking about it, I probably wouldn't be...I think to be good writers we must keep on learning. If we become complacent then we might as well give up the game.
When I say editing, I more specifically mean editing my own work.
Time is the key, I've decided. I've heard it before and I know that you're supposed to let your first draft go cold before you attack it, but I don't think six weeks is enough time either. My work is still pretty luke warm after six weeks. I'm still very precious about it.
I can't remember when I finished the first draft of The Silver Lining, but I do know it's been well over six months since I sent it to be published. It's been sitting, waiting patiently with other manuscripts, for another editor to have their take on it.
Now it's back in my hands, line edits and constructive criticism included and I'm thoroughly enjoying both taking in what someone else says about it, and seeing it from a completely fresh perspective. I can see all the little gaps clearly. I knew they were there and had filled some of them in, but now I know exactly what it needs to make it complete. I've even decided it needs a whole new chapter in the middle. And the creative process of editing, and seeing it meld together even better than it was before, has sparked me to begin writing again. Hallelujah!
So, that's my advice this week to any budding authors who might happen upon my blog...take your time. Yes, it's very, very exciting seeing your work come to fruition. But once your book is out there you'll be extremely lucky if you get a chance to take it back and rework it once it's published. Trust me, I've read some of my own work and thought...If only I could have another go at that.